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Sterling Homes and Hughes for President

February 1st, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

The other day, I had occasion to dig out my 1917 Sterling Homes mail-order catalog and look for a picture of the Sterling Windemere. While I was rustling through the pages, I noticed that the words, “Hughes for President” had been scribbled on the catalog’s front cover (see below). Was this some kid, nominating his elder brother for president? Probably, I told myself.

When my husband came home a few hours later, I asked him, “have you ever heard of a 1916 presidential candidate named Hughes?

“Yes,” he replied, with hardly a pause. “Charles Evan Hughes.”

I love smart men.

Hughes, I later learned, resigned from his position as Associate Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court to run against Wilson in the 1916 presidential election. He put in a good showing, losing by a mere 594,000 votes.

Sterling Homes, as the image shows below, was an early 20th Century mail-order company that sold kit homes in a wide variety of sizes and price ranges. They were solid homes, built from high-quality southern yellow and white pine. The houses were sturdy and strong, and I’ve always been impressed with the attractiveness of Sterling Homes. They apparently had some competent and creative architects.

Sterling Homes 1917 catalog.

Sterling Homes 1917 catalog.

Sterling System

Sterling System, as shown in their 1917 catalog.

Sterling Windemere

Sterling Windemere

To read about the Sears Homes of Lynchburg and Roanoke, click here.

To read more about Sterling Homes, click here or you can click here

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Lost in Lynchburg!

January 29th, 2011 Sears Homes 4 comments

My dear friend Rebecca is working on a new project and asked me to find this 1910s kit home in Lynchburg, Virginia. Most folks have heard of Sears Kit Homes, but in addition to Sears, there were six companies selling kit homes through mail order. Their names were Gordon Van Tine, Montgomery Ward, Aladdin, Harris Brothers, Lewis Manufacturing and Sterling Homes.

Sterling was based in Bay City, Michigan and yet, I’ve found a few of these houses in Virginia. According to Rebecca, there’s a Sterling Windemere in Lynchburg. She found a testimonial in an old Sterling Homes catalog and the location listed for this house was Lynchburg. I’ll be driving up to Lynchburg soon to find this house. If anyone knows the address or area, it sure would be helpful to have that!

Please leave a comment below with the address or write me at thorntonrose@hotmail.com.

Note, one of the distinctive features of this house is that paired staircase landing window (midway up the side wall). That’s a fairly unusual feature, as most landing windows were single. Also note the grouped columns (three on the corners), with the brick foundations. And note how the second-floor windows come right up to the eaves of the house. Lastly, there’s a hipped dormer with two small windows.

There are a gazillion foursquares in Lynchburg, but I’m hoping to find THIS foursquare! Thanks for your help!

Sterling Homes The Windemere from the 1917 catalog

Sterling Homes "The Windemere" from the 1917 catalog.

Windemere

To prove the superiority of Sterling pre-cut homes, this Windemere was built on this lot in just 11 days. Note, this did not include the fireplace chimney and windows. This view shows the other side of the Windemere which (unfortunately) is quite non-descript.

Sterling

Sterling

Heres a real live Sterling Windemere in Bay City. Thanks to Dale Wolicki for allowing me to use his photo.

Here's a real live Sterling Windemere in Bay City. Thanks to Dale Wolicki for allowing me to use his photo. Sometimes, seeing the house "in the flesh" gives a more clear impression of the details, than a vintage line drawing.

To learn more about identifying kit homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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